Love stories

Do you like love stories? I do. Not the he meets she, fall in love, happily ever after type of love story; that mills and boonerism is for people who feel the lack of romance in their lives. I’m thinking of love stories that bear some relation to real life, situation I’ve been in. In … More Love stories

Defining Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature recently: for me this just reinforces the oddity of his career. A literature award for a recording artist is a one off, and the fact that his material has appeared on pop music charts is a real confusion. Pop music is not about excellence, it’s about … More Defining Bob Dylan


From about 105 BC to 14 AD the Roman state experienced wars, revolts and invasions perilously close to the city of Rome. Invasions of German tribes, riots in the city, rebellion by Latin allies, the bloody dictatorship of Sulla, revolt of the gladiators, the conspiracy of Catiline, the takeover of political power by a triumvirate … More Lazarus

Reading matters

I’m a great admirer of Somerset Maugham, though I’ve only read his short stories and Of Human Bondage. I’m reading the stories now for the second time and find them even better than I remembered. I picked up another title by Maugham, called Books and You. Maugham here sets out to define one of the … More Reading matters

Phrases from stories

The famous science fiction writer, scientist and polymath Isaac Asimov wrote a little book in 1961 called Words from the Myths. When you read it you see how pervasive the influence of classical Greek and Roman literature has been on our culture. Today we think of ourselves as living in a scientific age, but the … More Phrases from stories